Icon of the Vladimir Mother of God


Commemorated on May 21 (also on June 23 and August 26)

The Celebration of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God was established to commemorate the deliverance of Moscow from an invasion of Tatars led by Khan Makhmet-Girei in 1521. The Tatar hordes approached Moscow, burning and destroying Russian cities and villages, and killing their inhabitants.

Great Prince Basil raised an army against the Tatars, while His Eminence Metropolitan BARLAAM and the people of Moscow prayed fervently. At this same time a pious blind nun had a vision. She saw Moscow’s bishop-saints exiting from the Kremlin’s Savior Gates, abandoning the city and taking with them the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God, the holiest object in Moscow. This was God’s punishment for the sins of Moscow’s citizens.

At the Savior Gates the holy hierarchs were met by Sts. Sergius of Radonezh and Barlaam of Khutyn who tearfully urging them not to leave Moscow. All of them offered intense prayers to the Lord for the forgiveness of their sins and the deliverance of Moscow from its enemies. After these prayers, the bishop-saints returned to the Kremlin, and they carried back the holy Vladimir Icon.

St. Basil the Blessed saw a similar vision. It was revealed to him that Moscow would be saved, through the intercession of the Theotokos and the prayers of the saints. The Tatar Khan also had a vision of the Mother of God with a fearsome host, contending against his forces. The Tatars fled in fear, and the capital of Russia was saved.

The Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God is also commemorated on June 23 and August 26.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)